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Hearing Aids

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of hearing aids fitted under the NHS is represented by digital aids; and what proportion of hearing aids being fitted as current practice are digital. [71759]

Jacqui Smith: Information on the number of analogue aids fitted in the National Health Service is not collected centrally. We do however, know that services purchased 392,000 analogue aids from the NHS logistics authority in 2001–02. (These figures are exclusive of any purchases outside of NHS purchasing and supply agency contracts). By comparison, approximately 37,000 digital aids were purchased in 2001–02 by those involved in the modernising hearing aid services project that year with approx 28,000 being fitted as part of that project.

Health Funding

Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the per capita health funding is in (a) Surrey and (b) Durham for the 2002–03 financial year. [71912]

Mr. Hutton: In the 2002–03 allocations, West Surrey Health Authority received £839 per weighted head of population (£745 per unweighted head) and County Durham Health Authority received £804 per weighted head (£884 per unweighted head).

Hospital Acquired Infections

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many older people whose discharge from hospital

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was delayed have acquired a healthcare-associated infection while waiting to be discharged in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement; [71863]

Jacqui Smith: The data requested are not routinely collected. However, we are committed to tackling healthcare associated infections and as part of implementing "Getting Ahead of the Curve", our strategy for combating infectious diseases, we are developing targeted action plans for healthcare associated infections and antimicrobial resistance.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many hospital trusts closed (a) wards and (b) operating facilities in the last 12 months due to hospital acquired infections. [71090]

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Mr. Lammy [holding answer 18 July 2002]: The data requested are not routinely collected. Tackling hospital acquired infection (HAI) underpins the priorities in the NHS Plan and a number of initiatives are underway to reduce HAI.

Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Health

Authority

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many social workers there were per 1,000 population in (a) the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Health Authority, (b) Hampshire and (c) the South East in each year since 1996; and if he will make a statement. [72024]

Jacqui Smith: Information on the number of social workers per 1,000 population is not available by health authority, only by local authority. The table below shows the whole-time equivalent number of social work staff (including care managers) per 1,000 population as at 30 September in each year between 1996 and 2001 for Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and the south east region.

Social work staff(79) (whole-time equivalent) per 1,000 population199619971998199920002001(80)
Hampshire (old)0.5..........
Hampshire (remaining)..0.40.50.40.40.5
Isle Of Wight Unitary Authority0.60.70.90.90.90.8
Portsmouth Unitary Authority..0.80.80.80.80.9
South East0.60.60.60.60.60.6

.. = not applicable due to local government reorganisation.

(79) Includes care managers.

(80) 2,000 population figures used as these are the latest available.

Sources:

Form SSDS001, annual return of local authority social services departments staff and Office for National Statistics population figures.


Alzheimer's Disease

Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will take measures to ensure that a higher proportion of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease receive Reminyl; [71921]

Jacqui Smith: A 1998 medical research council cognitive function and ageing study found that about 600,000 people in the UK have dementia and that up to 60 per cent. of dementia cases are Alzheimer's. Information about the numbers of people within each health authority with Alzheimer's, and about the type of treatment they are receiving, is not routinely collected.

Reminyl and other anti-dementia drugs like Aricept and Exelon are available to people with Alzheimer's since NICE recommended their availability in January 2001.

The national service framework (NSF) for older people aims to promote good mental health in older people and to treat and support people with dementia including those with mild to moderate Alzheimer's. Implementation of the NSF will ensure that people with Alzheimer's disease will receive the care and treatment they need.

Care Costs

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the sum to be transferred from local authority budgets to the NHS to cover the nursing contribution payments from 1 April 2003. [71196]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 22 July 2002]: We are still considering the amount that should be transferred from local authority budgets to the National Health Service to cover the nursing contribution payments in respect of local council supported clients from 1 April 2003. We expect to go out for consultation about that amount shortly.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the recently published report of the Rowntree Trust into the economics of the care home sector. [71679]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 22 July 2002]: My officials are considering the report by the Joseph Rowntree Trust. We welcome its contribution to the debate about the appropriate level of care home fees. We support any research that that helps councils to set fair and realistic fee levels.

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The Government increased resources for social services by 20 per cent. in real terms between 1996–97 and 2002–3. This represents an average real terms increase of 3 per cent. per annum. In addition, funding will increase by 6 per cent. per year in real terms in each of the next three years. There is evidence that this extra investment is making a difference. Laing and Buisson, the authors of the Joseph Rowntree Trust report, reported last month that most councils have increased their care home fees by at least 3 per cent. in 2002–03 and that almost a third have agreed increases of at least 10 per cent. since last year.

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the final free nursing care contribution evaluation report was received by his Department. [71348]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 22 July 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) of 2 July, Official Report 2002, column 309W. A report has not been received by the Department and will not be received until later this year.

Carers

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 3 July 2002, Official Report, column 449W, on carers, what steps his Department has taken to encourage general practitioners to detail in patient records whether a patient is also a carer. [71893]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 22 July 2002]: The Department is funding a three-year project by Carers UK to disseminate good practice in National Health Service support for carers including identification of carers by general practitioners in patient records. In addition, the existence of the carers field in general practitioner (GP) computer systems was highlighted in the March edition of the Department's bulletin to GPs.

Care Homes (Questionnaire)

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 15 July 2002, on care homes ref. 68876, if he will place a copy of the questionnaire in the Library. [71648]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 22 July 2002]: The national care standards commission (NCSC) is consulting service users and representative organisations as part of its inspection process.

The postcard questionnaire is one of the range of tools being used by the NCSC to gather information from service users on their perception of the care they receive. I have asked the commission to send a copy of this particular questionnaire to the hon. Member. Use of the cards to provide feedback to the Commission is, of course, entirely voluntary.


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